The Sigma Difference
I think this would have been more successful with their lenses ten years ago. The earlier devices from Sigma were aimed at a different market, and you could tell by looking. Oh, the optical performance of the glass was good, and the value for money was there, but the appearance and design of the barrels and the firmaments was a bit problematical.
The external finish in those days was a sort of a plastic crackle coating - I'm not sure if it was a paint or a texture pressed into the components. It did have a certain charm, but if you started to use the lenses extensively and were not careful how you packed them you could find it wearing smooth at noticeable points. Don't stop the lenses from working but did bother some people.
Of course, this did not affect the optical design departments and they came up with ever more useful combinations of focal length and resolution. I myself whacked out real cash for an 8-16mm DC lens for the Nikon mount and found it was the best thing since sliced bread for interior shots. It also paid its way with large group shots at weddings, but as with all extreme wide angles, you had to make careful disposition of the people on the edges of the group - otherwise they got pumpkin faces.
That's evident from the MTF figures - the DP Review testing of it is quite remarkable. The sharpness of the resolution wide open is the thing that will rivet many of the potential buyers - couples with a full-frame camera this would be the perfect portrait lens in low available light conditions.
It is the sort of attention to detail that allows the manufacture to back up a two-year warranty without fail.
You'll also notice the engraved "Made In Japan" on each Sigma lens. They do, and they use their own components too. Make what you will of the national pride in the cameras and lenses, it does mean that you are getting good value for your money.
See the Sigma range in store at 230 Stirling St, Perth or at http://www.cameraelectronic.com.au/sigma